N.J. Dems move to compensate state workers for wages lost during government shutdown

 New Jersey state government was shut down for three days last week during a budget impasse between lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey state government was shut down for three days last week during a budget impasse between lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey employees should not be penalized for the three-day government shutdown last week, state legislative leaders say.

 

Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, plans a Senate session Thursday to act on bipartisan legislation requiring the state to pay workers who were furloughed because of a delayed budget.

 

“It’s just showing our intent for what we think is important. For the workers that should have been paid, this wasn’t their fault that we had an impasse,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “We should pay them. It was in the budget. It’s not like the money is not there.”

 

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto, also a Democrat, wants Republican Gov. Chris Christie to use his executive authority to order payment.

 

“I’ve spoken to many different attorneys that have looked at what his powers are. They feel that he can do it by executive order,” said Prieto, D-Hudson. “So I say, you know what, let’s get these employees paid and let’s get them done right now.”

 

If Christie won’t act, Prieto said he’ll urge the Assembly to also pass legislation authorizing payment.

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